A Love and Football Novel
By: Julie Brannagh
Releasing Feb 11th, 2014
Julie Brannagh’s sparkling and romantic Love and Football series continues!
For Amy Hamilton, only three Fs matter: Family, Football, and Flowers. It might be nice to find someone to share Forever with, too, but right now she’s working double overtime while she gets her flower shop off the ground. The last thing she needs or wants is a distraction … or help, for that matter. Especially in the form of gorgeous and aggravatingly arrogant ex-NFL star Matt Stephens.
Matt lives by a playbook—his playbook. He never thought his toughest opponent would come in the form of a stunning florist with a stubborn streak to match his own. Since meeting her in the bar after her sister’s wedding, he’s known there’s something between them. After she refuses—again and again—to go out with him, Matt will do anything to win her heart … But will Amy, who has everything to lose, let the clock run out on the one-yard line?
Things are just getting good between Matt and Amy when he has to leave on a business trip for several days. He asks Amy to go with him, but she can’t leave her shop. Amy packs a tote bag for Matt she knows he’ll enjoy on his trip – fruit, home-baked cookies, and throws in a silky red thong for a joke.
Matt decides to return the favor.
Matt had been in Indianapolis only forty-eight hours, and Amy missed him like she’d miss an appendage. She’d hardly slept last night. Her pillowcase still smelled like him, but it wasn’t enough. She couldn’t cuddle with a goldfish. She finally resorted to hugging the pillow until she drifted off for a few hours.
Things were crazy at her shop, too. She could hear the “chirp” of texts received on her smart phone as she worked, but she didn’t have time to look at them. She heard the bells jingle on the shop’s front door as the FedEx guy walked in. He held up a medium-sized box. She put her shears down for a few seconds to sign for it.
“Thanks,” she said, and she took the package out of his hands. He left, and she continued to stare at the box.
It was light, too light to be ribbon or enclosure cards. There were only initials in the upper left-hand corner, and she wasn’t familiar with the mailing address. She was tempted to leave it on the workbench while she started the next arrangement, but curiosity got the best of her. She opened the Fed Ex box to reveal a much more luxurious box inside. It was a vivid pink, wrapped with black satin ribbon tied into a gorgeous bow. The top of the box read “Agent Provocateur”.
She glanced around. Estelle was on a coffee break. She untied the bow, pulled the lid off of the box, and let out a gasp. A delicate pink and black lace slip was nestled in a bed of barely-tinted pink tissue paper. She lifted it out of the box. The straps were thin black ribbons that ended in bows. The cups of the bra were the palest pink lace. The bodice was sheer, and the skirt was flounces of Chantilly lace and tulle. Hopefully she wouldn’t snag something so beautiful and delicate on her work-roughened fingertips. The tiniest pair of panties she’d ever seen lay undisturbed in the tissue paper along with an envelope that read “Amy”.
She pulled a notecard out of the envelope.
They named these after you, Fifi.
You are more beautiful.
Four days later Amy stood at Matt’s front door in the trench coat she hadn’t worn since she left her corporate job and a pair of Emily’s stilettos. She knew Matt was home; he’d texted her from the Town Car that dropped him off half an hour ago. Samantha was spending the evening with her grandma.
Amy had spent the last two evenings practicing walking in the loaned pair of stilettos. She hardly had any bruises as a result, and last night she was really getting the hang of it. She made it from the van to his front door without wiping out. All she had to do was make it over the threshold of his house.
She tapped at the door. Matt pulled it open seconds later.
“I’ve missed you so much,” he said. The joy on his face made her heart leap. He reached out for her and attempted to pull her inside.
One of Emily’s heels snagged in the doormat.
“You’re wearing heels? Since when do you wear heels?” he asked, trying to disentangle her from the rubber doormat’s surprisingly tenacious grip on the shoe.
“I wanted to surprise you—ow!” She yanked her foot out of the shoe and pulled away from him. “Now the surprise is spoiled. Why can everyone else manage heels, and I’m just a big mess in them? I don’t get it. I—”
Matt’s mouth covered hers. He was already working on the trench coat’s belt with impatient hands. He stopped kissing her long enough to say, “If this is what I think it is, I’m enjoying it already.”
“The panties,” she whispered into his ear. “They—They’re so teeny. I can’t get them off by myself.”
She managed to shut his front door with one elbow, yanked the trench coat off, and dropped it at her feet. She wore nothing but one shoe, toenail polish, a spritz of Jo Malone’s Orange Blossom, and the panties he’d sent her. He looked, and then he stared.
She bit her lower lip and glanced up at him. He seemed a bit awestruck.
“This is the best day of my life,” he said. “Don’t move.”
He grabbed the heel out of the mat, shut and locked the door, and knelt at her feet to slip Emily’s shoe on her foot again. Seconds later, he scooped her up in his arms, and carried her to his room.
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Julie Brannagh has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil. She lives in a small town near Seattle, where she once served as a city council member and owned a yarn shop. She shares her home with a wonderful husband, two uncivilized Maine Coons and a rambunctious chocolate Lab.
Julie hasn’t quite achieved the goal of owning a pro football team, so she created a fictional one: The Seattle Sharks. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, or armchair-quarterbacking her favorite NFL team from the comfort of the family room couch. Julie is a Golden Heart finalist and the author of four contemporary sports romances.
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